Well it’s not like we didn’t see this coming.
Though the songs that Joe Nichols has sung over the years have sometimes been a bit hit and miss, you’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive voice in the mainstream since Nichols launched his career in the late 90’s. With songs like “Brokenheartsville,” he made believers out of many, and along with Josh Turner and a handful of others, Joe Nichols was a breath of fresh air inside the stuffy mainstream country system. But that’s not the case any more.
Broken Bow Records has confirmed that Joe Nichols no longer is on their roster. He was one of the casualties when the label shuttered their Red Bow Records imprint earlier this year, sending the fate of Nichols in the air, as well as the fate of fellow label mates Brooke Eden and Rachel Farley. Craig Campbell and Kid Rock moved to the Wheelhouse imprint of Broken Bow, and David Fanning moved to the imprint Stoney Creek. Similar to how Big Machine who was forced to shutter their DOT imprint recently, Broken Bow’s eyes apparently got bigger than their pocketbook, and the ax fell.
Though Joe Nichols released a record in 2017 called Never Gets Old, and released a series of country classic covers this year called Never Gets Old: Traditional Country Series, the writing seemed to be on the wall that it was only a matter of time before Nichols would be let go. His last three singles failed to crack the Top 40 on country radio, and little to no promotion was put behind his Traditional Country Series releases.
A casualty of the Bro-Country era, the lag between his 2017 release and 2013’s Crickets took a lot of the wind out of Joe’s sails. Crickets included two #1 singles, and Joe has enjoyed five #1’s over his career. He also won the ACM’s Top New Male Vocalist honor and the CMA’s Horizon Award when he first appeared on the scene, and has been nominated for four Grammy Awards.
Perhaps it was Joe’s insistence to not sell out during the Bro-Country era that did him in, however unlike a lot of pop country hopefuls, Joe Nichols has options. With a strong fan base of traditional country fans who he’s kept around by attempting to hold his ground in the traditional style of music, hopefully Joe Nichols lands on his feet somewhere.